Mental health support at the tip of your fingers

 |   Equipo Microsoft Latinx

Much has been discussed about mental health, but finding the necessary support is not always easy. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Latinos are less likely to seek help for mental health. Only 20% of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder talk to a doctor, and from those, only 10% reach out to a mental health specialist.

Imagine if the initial support and guidance is available at your fingertips? It is. iRel8, is a global app that connects users who share similar experiences with anxiety, addiction, depression and dozens of other conditions anonymously. Built with Microsoft technology, the app is available in 63 languages, breaking any language barriers and fuel even more growth by reaching a critical mass where people can chat 24/7.

iRel8Jeff Dorchester and Dion Gonzales realized that they were both struggling with depression in different dimensions and realized the opportunity they had to help others to open up.

“When you consider all the people who won’t seek help or who aren’t willing to talk about it, imagine how many could have a new avenue to begin healing,” Dorchester adds. “It’s mindboggling.”

To develop the app they used Microsoft Office 365 to swap platform concepts, business ideas and personal inspirations. They also relied on Visual Studio to code.

To make that safe space feel even more welcoming, the co-founders hope their app fuels fundamental changes in some verbiage that has been long used within the mental health realm– words they consider may adding to the stigma. Instead of referencing “mental illness,” for example, Jeff and Dion use “mental wellness.”

“We hope that people talk about things differently,” Gonzales says. “We want to encourage people to use new words, so they can begin to start new conversations.”

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